What Does Upset Mean In Sports Betting?
by Doc's Sports - 10/9/2014
An underdog in sports betting is the team or individual deemed less likely - first by the linemakers and then by the betting public - to win the game. You can tell which team is the underdog either by looking at the pointspread or the moneyline - just look for the +. In the pointspread an underdog might be something like +3.5, which means that a bet on them wins if they win the game or lose by three or fewer games. The favorite in that situation would be -3.5. In the moneyline an underdog could be something like +160, which means that someone who bet $100 would make a profit of $160 if they were to win the game. Unlike the pointspread, it doesn’t matter how much a team wins or loses by when betting on the moneyline - a win is a win.
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There are varying degrees of upsets. If a small underdog - say +1 or +2 on the pointspread or +120 or +130 on the moneyline - beats a favorite then that would be a minor upset. It still fits the definition, but is hardly a ground shaking occurrence. On the flip side, an underdog of +15 or +20 on the pointspread or +350 or +450 on the moneyline that wins outright would qualify as a major upset. There are a full range of upsets in between, and even bigger upsets are even possible.
The media will always treat major upsets as almost impossible - like the world has stopped spinning or something. It’s important to remember, though, that anything is possible in sports, and on any given day any team can beat any other if things go just right. A mistake that casual bettors make is thinking that big favorites are unbeatable, and that big underdogs have no hope. You need to lose that attitude, and instead focus on just how much of a chance the underdog has of success. If the odds of them winning are better than the price that is being offered then they are worth a bet - regardless of how much of an underdog they are.
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